Impact indicators for biodiversity conservation research: Measuring influence within and beyond academia

Date: 20, Jan, 2021
Author(s):   Lavery, T.H., Morgain, R., Fitzsimons, J.A., Fluin, J., Macgregor, N.A., Robinson, N.M., Scheele, B.C., Selwood, K.E., Spindler, R., Vuong, H., West, S., Wintle, B.A., Lindenmayer, D.B.
Publisher: BioScience

Measuring, reporting, and forecasting research impact beyond academia has become increasingly important to demonstrate and understand real-world benefits. This is arguably most important in crisis disciplines such as medicine, environmental sustainability and biodiversity conservation, where application of new knowledge is urgently needed to improve health and environmental outcomes. Increasing focus on impact has prompted the development of theoretical guidance and practical tools tailored to a range of disciplines, but commensurate development of tools for conservation is still needed. In the present article, we review available tools for evaluating research impact applicable to conservation research. From these, and via a survey of conservation professionals, we compiled and ranked a list of 96 impact indicators useful for conservation science. Our indicators apply to a logic chain of inputs, processes, outputs, outcomes, and impacts. We suggest the list can act as a clear guide to realize and measure potential impacts from conservation research within and beyond academia.